Southern California Edison (SCE) has announced that it is partnering in two large-scale solar installations in Southern California. These two huge installations which will be built by First Solar could generate a total power of 550 megawatts: 300-megawatt Stateline in northeastern San Bernardino County and 250-megawatt Desert Sunlight near Desert Center.
The projects will begin in 2012 and 2013 and are expected to be providing green energy by 2015. “These projects are powerful examples of large-scale photovoltaic solar generation becoming a reality in the U.S.,” said John Carrington, a vice president at First Solar. Stuart Hemphill, senior vice president of power procurement says that SCE is currently buying 16% of its electricity from renewables, and its biggest source is geothermal (60%), followed by wind (20%), biomass (10%), solar (5%) and small hydro (5%). The company has been buying solar for 20 years, and currently has 354 megawatts under contract, so the two projects more than double its capacity.
“Solar is the most expensive form of power,” said Hemphill, who wouldn’t say what price SCE will pay (though he said it was the most attractive of several offers). California is committed to meeting a goal of 20% renewable energy by 2010, but that’s next year and the state is unlikely to meet the goal.